As a parent, keeping your child safe is one of the most important things to keep in mind especially while traveling in a vehicle. One of the ways you can keep your child safe in your vehicle is to buy a child seat. Here are a few things to look out for in order to make sure your purchase is worthwhile and will keep your bundle of joy safe if things go awry on the road.
Search for tested and approved car seats
Safety should be the number-one priority every time you enter a motor vehicle with a child, so look for child seats that are tested and approved. Look for Child Restraint System (CRS) that are not only appropriate for your child’s age but also for their height and weight. Make sure that these CRSs meet the standards set by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and are within the DTI Department Administrative Order No. 20-03. These child seats follow the standards set up by the United Nations under its Regulations 44 and 149 as well as other international standards. You can look for the certification of the child seat found on the label that is attached to it. These will also indicate the weight, height, and age limits of the seat and will help you find which one best fits your child.
Look for child seats that are easy to use and come with a secure installation
After you have done your research and are ready to head over to a shop or to the mall to buy a child seat, make sure to check if your vehicle has ISOFIX anchor points or tethers. This will help you determine what kind of child seat you can get and what kind of installation process it will entail. Having ISOFIX points in your vehicle will make it easier for you to latch and unlatch your CRS and will also aid you in knowing when you have done the installation process correctly. There are clear indicators shown on the seat base of ISOFIX ready child seats that show if the base has been correctly installed. Also, look for seats that come with installation diagrams to make the process go as smoothly as possible.
ISOFIX tethered seats, however, do come at a price. There are other options in the market such as 3-point seatbelt attached models. While still a safe option, correct installation can be difficult as quickly looping the seatbelt through the correct chambers can be difficult. As your child grows up some of these chambers will no longer be useable and the child seat will start to act as a booster seat instead. It’s still safe, and it will work in tandem with the seatbelt. While it is harder to install and check if the installation was done correctly, these kinds of seats are much lighter and can suit a wider array of vehicles, even those without ISOFIX anchors. Although, if your cars all have ISOFIX anchorage points, then it would make more sense to purchase a seat with that tethering feature. As installation is quick and easy.
Pick a car seat that is suitable for the whole period of use
To avoid buying multiple car seats as your child grows up, you should purchase a seat that can grow or adapt to your child’s height and weight, as well as last the entire span of its useful life. Make sure to take into consideration the safety ratings it carries and if it will transition well as your child ages. Also, take into account the comfort of the seat as this is something your child will grow with until the age of 12. Look for seats that come with features such as space for your child’s legs, adjustability in height, adjustability in reclining positions, as well as adaptive side impact protection.
Choose a seat that is easy to clean
An important part of child seat maintenance is that you will need to have it cleaned on a regular basis. As such, look for seats that come with smooth fabrics that you can easily wipe clean. Avoid textured fabrics or corduroy as these will be more difficult to clean. While this one is more about cleanliness rather than safety it’s still an important factor to consider especially if the seat will be with you for many years to come.
Go for brand new child seats
While looking at second-hand child car seats may seem like a good option, it is still best to buy new ones. If you choose to go with a used unit you won’t be able to know the complete history of the previous owner and if the seat has been through an accident. The seat itself can also be unsafe as it could have missing parts, labels, and even missing instructions. It could also be unsafe if the manufacturer sent out a recall for the seat and the seat has not been fixed. In order to give you peace of mind, it is still ideal to purchase a new seat. In this manner you know its history, you know that it has complete parts, and its instructions are still intact because you have first dibs on the seat itself.
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